Laughter, the orthogonal medicine

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Thu Jul 06 2000 - 00:17:40 MDT

At 02:00 AM 6/07/00 -0400, Eli wrote:

>> >Morality can and must interfere
>> >with many things, but never ever ever our sense of humor.


>I suppose that did sound a bit heavy-handedly sanctimonious, didn't it?

And probably mine [deleted], too, in response. Sigh.

> I had no choice but to laugh. It was funny. Evil, but
>funny. [...] Laughter exists on an orthagonal plane.

Yep, that's true. I'm *always* getting foul looks because of my indiscreet
and insensitive seize-every-chance jests. And I've fallen into a very bad
habit of mimicking crass or racist terminology, in what I intend as a
parodic or undermining way but often gets taken as evidence of my own
loathsomeness. Laughter bursts out free of moral filtering (except when it
doesn't, when everyone misses the joke). And a lot of it is obviously
*driven* by the anxiety of inner gate-keeping.

For all that, certain dreary and repetitive hobbyhorse plaints in the guise
of wit, often at the expense of the vulnerable or customarily victimised
(as on some of the `Robert Black' pages), swiftly lose their charm and
leave a bitter residue.

Damien Broderick

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